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Sometimes, it’s not where you go on holiday that matters most; it’s what you want to experience while you’re there. Perhaps yours are simple needs: to get some sun and the odd game of tennis. Or is your idyll more multi-faceted; refined but outdoorsy, with wild natural beauty to photograph? Does superlative design and artistry make you tick? Or would you consider any continent as long as the food is absolutely top notch? We understand that time is precious, so we’ve saved you some by compiling the most enriching experiences that may only take an hour, but will make memories that last a lifetime.

Local Life

We’re all for delving beyond the surface to discover a true sense of location. Many leading resorts are now offering guests authentic and cultural encounters that allow for connections with local people and the environment.

Beyond expectation

This regal masterpiece welcomes you to wander in luxury, celebrating architecture, ancestral knowledge and culinary arts.  Your experience commences the moment you arrive, greeted at steps of your plane and whisked through the airport to your waiting custom-made rose gold Range Rover. If you ever decide to leave your riad, Royal Mansour Marrakech will leave a mark in your memory with the unparalleled experiences available. The Cultural Discovery package includes a visit of Majorelle and Menara gardens by horse-drawn carriage followed by an evening dinner of sublime Moroccan cuisine at Le Grande Table Marocaine, one of country’s best gastronomic restaurants overseen by Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléo. Undeniably the star of the resort is the spa where you can surrender to a 60-minute Moroccan cleansing and beauty ritual in the authentic hamman.

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Opera legend

Immerse yourself in ‘La Dolce Vita’ and visit the home of Tito Shipa Junior – the son of one of the greatest Tenors of the past. Enjoy a lecture-recital designed to introduce the magic of opera to the audience in his beautiful Roman home, before indulging into a gourmet lunch or evening dinner prepared by his wife,  Adriana Ruvolo– a renowned Italian gastronomist.

Caribbean vibes

Now in its 31st year and considered an "Antiguan Institution" Shirley Heights Lookout on Sunday evenings are transformed into a night of celebration packed with Caribbean vibes. Mouth-watering barbecues, exotic rum cocktails and dancing to pulsating rhythms from the steel band overlooking one of Antigua's most spectacular views on the island. 

A deeper connection

A stone’s throw from the Angkor Archaeological site, where you can explore the region’s spiritual heritage and take part in a water blessing to cleanse your spirit. Discover an insight into the rich culture of Siem Reap aboard Amansara’s boat, gently sailing to nearby Tonlé Sap Lake where stilted villages have changed little over the centuries.

Foodie Escapes

Food and wine are one of the highlights of overseas travel and foodies are increasingly well catered for with holidays that centre on gastronomic passions as an integral ingredient. Our luxury hotels and resorts by their nature have exceptional restaurants and cuisine; but the foodie journey does not end there – continue your epicurean journey with cookery classes, wine tastings and market tours; our selection offers something a little more creative.

Farm-to-table

The Cape’s first farm has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1682, lovingly restored and declared a National Monument. Feast on seasonal tapas with fresh organically grown produce from Steenberg's own working farm at the award-winning BistroSixteen82, where complimentary wine tasting is included. The state-of-the-art winery (the second oldest wine-producing estate in South Africa) never fails to impress, producing a variety of wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Shiraz and the ICON wine Magna Carta. Wine tastings and pairings are available in the Wine Tasting Bar, Tasting Lounge and Outdoor Terrace overlooking Cape Town’s remarkable scenery.

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Make your own olive oil

Try your hand at olive harvesting at The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino, an age-old tradition in Greece, with the opportunity to learn first-hand the method of planting and collecting olives and producing your own olive oil with Messinian farmers. Enjoy a tasting session in the mill whilst the oil is pressed and bottled.

Scoot around Saigon

It’s best to be a little hungry before this appetite-whetting evening tour; riding as a passenger on a vintage Vespa, scoot through Saigon's teeming streets as you’re taken to the city’s best locations for authentic street food, gaining insights into the local way of life and eating in off-the-beaten-track places normally only frequented by the locals.

Culinary depths

Dive for your dinner at Four Seasons Resort Nevis on a morning sail to lasso your own Caribbean spiny lobster – renowned for being the tastiest of the sea. Your catch of the day is brought back to resort to be cooked on a beach barbecue that evening, with a lesson from the chef on how to grill them for the most succulent results.

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Star spotting

Soneva Fushi has long been forging incredible experiences for its guests. Head out to the quiet serenity of the Baa Atoll to enjoy a four course astronomical dining experience with wine pairings while watching the sun set. As darkness falls, learn secrets of the cosmos from the resident astronomer under the blanket of stars twinkling in the night sky.

Glacier gastronomy

Embark on an incredible adventure to a remote glacier in the Whistler Mountains by private helicopter while sipping on a glass of Moet Ice. Explore the ice-cave with its 12,000 year old labyrinth of aqua-blue chambers. A Four Seasons Resort Whistler mixologist shakes up signature specialities using the crucial ingredient, pure glacier ice before returning to the resort for a private dining experience.

Home grown tastes

At Masseria Torre Coccaro in Puglia, learn to make Apulian dishes based on ingredients you’ve gathered from the organic fruit and vegetable garden, as well as pizza in a firewood oven dating from 1500 and cheeses from scratch at their cookery school. Pedal your way through olive groves to fishing villages where you can taste seafood straight from the boats on a gourmet bike tour.

Spirit of Adventure

Travelling in style should not preclude you from savouring adrelnalin-fuelled and unique encounters; more and more luxury resorts and cruises are appealing to their guests' sense of adventure without comprising on their level of refinement.

Curious explorers

Scenic Eclipse, the World’s First Discovery Yacht marries 6-star luxury with unrivalled exploration and itineraries spanning from pole-to-pole. With an on-board helicopter and submarine, you can catch unparalleled views both beneath the waves and from the air. Diving to a depth of 300 metres, the six person custom-built submarine unearths underwater ruins in Greece, kaleidoscopic coral reefs in the Caribbean and marine life in the Arctic Circle. Venture beyond the horizon with a range of excursions on Scenic's state-of-the-art helicopter, flying over the jungle coastline of Panama, landing on the ice in Greenland, or soaring above Italy's volcanic wonders.

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Aurora Safari

North of the Arctic Circle, go in search of the Northern Lights on a snowmobile safari at Sweden’s ICEHOTEL. Driving a snowmobile through a dark winter landscape promises to be an exhilarating enterprise – only elevated by the possible appearance of the ever-elusive aurora.

Wilderness Wow Factor

An early morning hot air balloon flight is a must at Amangiri. Gliding above epic scenery, watch the ever-changing light dance across the extraordinary landscapes of Southern Utah with spectacular views of Lake Powell and the Grand Staircase – Esclante National Monument.

Bear necessities

Accompanied by an interpretive guide at Knight Inlet Lodge, observe indigenous Grizzly Bears from special viewing platforms; photographic opportunities are plentiful during peak season when it is not uncommon for there to be up to forty bears within ten kilometres of the lodge.

Family Matters

Never has kids play been more innovative, educational and fun.
 From programmes designed to inspire mini scientists, botanists and astrologists to serious skill-honing under the tutelage of world-class professionals in sporting academies. These perspective-changing experiences are guaranteed to excite, enrich and educate.

Future stars

Budding Rafael Nadals and Frank Lampards can hone their skills at Sani Resort’s Tennis and Football Academies. There are six flood-lit courts where children can enjoy one-on-one lessons with a professional coach. Alternatively, children at all levels aged between four and 16 years can find their feet at the Sani Football Academy in association with Chelsea FC Foundation, mastering the sport in skills sessions on a UEFA-approved football pitch under the careful eye of professional coaches. >Read our top five family activities at Sani Resort here...

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Art of Eight Limbs

Children aged between four and 15 years can kick and punch their way to success in a masterclass with a champion of Muay Thai – the Thai variety of boxing and the beloved national sport at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui.  Energy packed classes in the new Bill Bensley-designed training ring include games and other fun-based activities to keep children focused and active.

Space Explorers

There are few things quite compelling as space, which makes the Kennedy Space Centre complex in Florida a must visit for children. Commemorate the heroes and legends past and present at the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame® before enjoying lunch with a real life astronaut. The Shuttle Launch Experience® within the Space Shuttle Atlantis® transports guests on an eight and half-minute simulated space flight.

Perfect Waves

Who will catch the first wave? Learn how to surf in Bali’s hottest surf scene at COMO Uma Canggu. Expert surfing instructors from Tropicsurf’s Turtle Club offers children aged eight to 14 years specialised learn-to-surf lessons. These fun, hands-on lessons include ocean awareness and basic balance techniques in the resort pool, they will have you hanging ten by the end of your lesson.

Learn from the experts

Cultural enrichment is fast replacing material indulgence amongst the luxe-travel cognoscenti, as more opt for learning experiences over lavish pampering. Inspired by their regional heritage, luxury retreats connect their guests with experts to create unique encounters.

The safari bushman

Jack's Camp, Botswana is the stomping ground of expert safari guide, naturalist, botanist and co-owner Ralph Bousfield, a fifth generation guide and son of legendary adventurer and conservationist Jack Bousfield. Surrounded by Zu/’hoasi Bushmen all his life, Jack can speak their complex click-based language; to experience these communities with someone who knows them intimately is the ultimate draw. Follow footprints through the Central Kalahari Game Reserve on Jack's Camp Interactive Bushwalk to gain an insight into their ancient culture, lifestyle, flora and fauna. Discover one of the wildest and most remote areas of Botswana on quad-bikes during the dry season, and witness zebra migration in the green season.

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First serve

With no fewer than seven hard courts, The Ritz Carlton, Abama offers exceptional tennis facilities the court lights and flexi-pave surfacing would please the most demanding professional player. Following the teaching methods pioneered by Emilio Sánchez Vicario and Sergio Casal, The Abama Sánchez Casal Tennis Academy can cater for all abilities.

Life through a lens

The vibrancy of India's street scenes makes it a photographers dream. One of the best ways to capture the very essence of Delhi's street life in all its glory is to accompany a passionate, experienced photographer on a street photography tour; with expert tips from the photographer, visit spiritual places of worship, walk around the chaotic streets and through crowded markets.

Regenerate the reef

Through the resort’s Coral Propagation Project at COMO Cocoa Island guests can sponsor a frame these encourage the growth of new coral and for the locals who build them, provides an alternative livelihood.  Plant the frame in situ, view its progress online and return to check up on the coral growth on a guided snorkelling tour on your next visit.

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